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November 2006
Thankful for Tempeh
Recipes by Joshua Ploeg

This year I have had far too many chances to dwell on what is wrong and it has been hard to step back and look for something right. I know I’m not alone.

But as fall progresses and winter sets in, it’s a good time to sift through the confusion and find an inspiring scrap.

Recently I was participating in a multimedia tour until my van broke down in Gainesville. It looked like another depressing chapter in a difficult year. That was until the lovely and generous folk of Gainesville introduced me to their local tempeh maker. If I hadn’t been stuck, I may never have enjoyed his soft, delicious creation. And you certainly can’t compare making new lifelong friends and enjoying some of the best tempeh ever to mechanical trouble.

Now, presenting a delicious tempeh alternative to the traditional Thanksgiving tofu-turkey roast:

Tempeh Pasties with Spiked Mustard Sauce
A deliciously savory and colorful dish.

Pastie Dough
3 C. Flour
1 1⁄4 C. Shortening or Margarine
1 t. Salt
1⁄2 t. Baking Powder
1⁄2 C. Boiling Water

1. Pour boiling water over shortening and allow to sit. Stir after a few minutes.

2. Sift dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

3. Make a well in the dry mix and pour the water mixture into this. Mix well to form a dough.

4. Set in fridge to chill until ready to use.

1 1⁄2 C. Tempeh, crumbled
1⁄2 C. Nuts of Choice, chopped
1 Small Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced
2 Bell Peppers, chopped (different colors)
1 T. Brown Mustard
Handful of Thyme and Parsley, chopped
Tamari or Soy Sauce to taste
Pepper, Paprika, Salt, Cloves and Allspice to taste
Spot of Sweet Balsamic Vinegar
Several T. Olive Oil
Optional: a few pinches of Curry Powder

1. Preheat oven 425°.

2. Fry nuts, garlic, onions and tempeh over med-high heat in olive oil.

3. Add tamari and spices to taste.

4. Add other ingredients and cook until tempeh is browned. You may add a bit of broth or water to sauce it up if it starts to dry out.

5. Set aside and let chill to room temperature.

6. Separate pastie dough into 8 balls and on a floured board, roll each out into circle of quarter inch thickness.

7. Place an eighth of the tempeh mixture on the circle and fold in half. Fold the edge of the dough over and crimp to seal.

8. Place on lightly greased baking sheets, score the tops thrice with a knife and brush with margarine or oil.

9. Bake for 25 minutes. Serve with mustard sauce.

Spiked Mustard Sauce
1⁄2 C. Favorite Mustard
1⁄2 C. Broth
1⁄2 C. Vegan Sour Cream
Juice of 1 Lemon
Touch of Beer or Wine
1⁄2 C. Parsley, chopped
1 Garlic Clove, pressed or minced
1/4 C. Onion, grated
Bit of Horseradish
Salt or Tamari to taste
2 T. Olive Oil

1. Blend together and heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes.

2. Adjust seasonings to your own taste. Serve with pasties.

3. Add more beer.

Roasted Roots with Sage and Garlic

2 Sweet Potatoes
2 Turnips
2 Large Carrots
2 Parsnips
2 Blue Potatoes
2 Red Potatoes
2 White Potatoes
6 Garlic Cloves, unpeeled
Score of Sage Leaves
Oil to coat
Lemon Juice, Orange Juice, Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Cut unpeeled veggies into rather large chunks and set them in a big bowl slathered with seasonings and oil.

3. In a roasting pan or large baking dish, begin cooking the potatoes for 10 minutes, then add everything else and let ‘er bake for another half hour turning every now and again.

4. Sauce with a bit of broth or something if it seems too dry.

Festive Brussels Sprouts
2 lbs. Brussels Sprouts
Mushroom Broth, to cover
Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder, to taste
Juice of 1 Lemon
Juice of 1 Lime
1 C. Fresh Corn
2 Tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 C. Roasted Red Bell Pepper, cut into strips
1 Small White Onion, cut into thin strips
2 T. Oil

1. Place brussels sprouts in a pot and cover with broth. Bring to a boil, lower to simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

2. Take the top off and pour out half the liquid. Add the onion, salt, pepper and chili powder and cook until the sprouts are tender to the knife.

3. Add everything else and adjust seasonings to taste.

4. You may add some herbs or jazz it up with some salsa concoction.

5. Serve using a slotted spoon.

I will make dessert easy: have friends bring their best pumpkin pie over!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Recipe of the month, tour information and occasional diatribe: Contact Joshua at